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Sewing a Leggings Waistband with Power net: Aila Tutorial

The secret to a beautiful looking leggings waistband that holds its shape is to add a layer of stretch mesh or power net inside the waistband, just like you would underline a garment. This little extra layer will also help the waistband stay put and hold its shape even during strenuous exercise. I used either mesh or net on pretty much all the Aila Leggings samples, so if you like the look of the waistband, now you know my secret!

But before we start the tutorial, first a few words on the difference between power mesh and net, and which option to pick.

A guide to power mesh and power net

Power mesh

Power mesh is a micro-mesh that is soft, durable, breathable with excellent four-way stretch. Since it is soft, the support when used in a waistband will not be as substantial as with power net. On the other hand, power mesh is generally more comfortable since it is softer and has more stretch.

Power net

Power net is a firmer Spandex micro-mesh often used in shapewear and bras. It has less stretch and is often thicker than power mesh. The surface is also coarser compared to power mesh, so not as nice to have next to the skin. I personally prefer using power net rather than power mesh for lining waistbands on activewear, but softer mesh works too.

Learn more: Best Fabric Choices for Workout Leggings: Aila Sew-Along

To line a leggings waistband with mesh or net you need

• Power net or mesh
• Elastic (optional)
• Regular ballpoint stretch needle, size 90
• Twin ballpoint stretch needle (optional)
• A sewing machine or a serger
• A coverstitch machine (optional)

1. Cut three waistband pieces: Inner, outer and net

You’ll need to cut the outer waistband pieces, the inner waistband pieces, and then a layer of net using the inner waistband pattern pieces. Make sure you
cut the net in the direction with the most stretch.

2. Secure the net to the waistband

Place the power net lining on the wrong sides of the inner waistband facing. Use pins or baste to keep the lining in place

Learn more: Easy Way to Sew a Triangle Crotch Leggings Gusset

3. Sew the side seam of the waistband

Stitch the outer front waistband to the outer back waistband, right sides facing. Repeat for the inner waistband with the power net lining.

4. Sew together the inner and outer leggings waistband

Sew together the inner and outer waistband matching mid-front and mid-back. Use a machine stretch stitch or a 3-thread serger overlock seam. Make sure you flip the side seams in opposite direction for a non-bulky seam

5. Fold over the inner waistband.

As you can see, the net works as an underlining as it is sewn together with the inner waistband pieces.

Learn more: Video: Sew Your Best Leggings Ever

6. Stitch the elastic to the seam allowance

This step is optional when using power net, but elastic does add even more stability and prevents the waistband from rolling over. If you are using power
net, be aware that it adds bulk, so a thinner clear elastic is often a better option
than knit elastic. Instead of a loop, you can stitch the elastic on the flat. Stitch on top of the elastic, close to the edge using a wide zigzag stitch.

7. Close the elastic loop

Overlap the elastic about 1 cm (½”) and stitch so that the beginning and end stitch line meets and overlaps.

8. Secure the elastic

Lift the presser foot, turn the waistband 90 degrees and sew two rows of zigzag stitches at the edges of the elastic.

9. The finished waistband

As a final step, you can also stitch the inner waistband using a sewing machine twin-needle or a coverstitch.

On these leggings, I used power net to underline the waistband on a pair of leggings made out of cotton/jersey lycra. I love using this method for leggings made out of natural fibres such as cotton and rayon since it gives the perfect amount of body for those softer materials.

step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to add drawstrings to a leggings waistband

Want to add a drawstring to your waistband? That works too with net lining. Check out my tutorial for how to sew drawstrings to a leggings waistband.

Watch this video tutorial for even more sewing leggings tips!


  • Esther
    July 17, 2016 at 12:51 am

    It looks great! You said it only rolls a little when you bend but returns quickly wen you straighten up. My question is: does it hold up the leggings even when you run for a long time? Do you ever feel that the leggings are sliding down? I have yoga pants that don't even have the power mesh, just a very wide waistband. The pants hold up during normal movements, but I don't think they could take a run. Would like to know your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Johanna
      July 17, 2016 at 6:56 am

      Yes it does! I've used this method now on two leggings that I run in regularly and it holds up incredibly well. Plus the power mush doesn't cut into my waist at all and gives my tummy a flatter silhouette. As for waistbands with no support like mesh or elastic I've had mixed experiences with them. I have a pair of RTW compression type leggings that holds up well in the waist without extra support, but that's because the fabric is so tight in itself. But yoga leggings without reinforcement rides down on me as soon as I start moving more strenuously. But mixing power mesh with elastic would be the most secure method of all I think!

      • Esther
        October 5, 2017 at 2:48 am

        Thanks a lot Johanna! You always give good tutorials and advice. 🙂 I read your reply only now and it’s already more than a year after you made it! But it’s still very good advice and it made me appreciate once again why I followed you in the first place, and why I keep reading your blogs, watching your vlogs on YouTube, and why I’m waiting for your ebook to come out. Keep on sewing! You inspire many people (like me) to sew, exercise and follow our passions. Cheers!

  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    January 10, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I have RTW capris that are made that way – some sort of perhaps power mesh inside and an elastic that sits right at the waist? I love the idea of powermesh though inside waist band for stability. I’m a fan of powermesh for all sorts of things! It makes a great band for the neckline too if you want something different and it comes in a lot of different colours.

  • Sandra
    April 23, 2018 at 4:42 am

    Hi, are you stretching the power mesh at all when you attach it to your waistband?

  • Ellen
    August 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Where can you order power mesh?

  • Patricia
    April 26, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Where can I buy power mesh?

  • Judy Kski
    November 5, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Power mesh doesn’t provide the same compression as power net. In your tutorial, you’ve used the terms interchangeably and it may cause some confusion. Power net is used in shapewear (girdles) and swimsuits and is much more stable than power mesh. Power mesh is a lot more stretchy.

    • Johanna Lundström
      December 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      You are correct, and it gets confusing since some sellers are using then interchangeable too, which is why I also mixed them a bit. Anyways, I’ve updated the post now with clear distinctions

  • anilin
    November 22, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Do you need the inner layer? Isn’t power net good as lining?

    • Johanna Lundström
      November 22, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Power net can be bit coarse on the surface, so using another fabric for the inside is more comfortable. But I’m sure it can work

  • Niamh Wilson
    December 28, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I’m looking at making a sports bra via draping and am wondering if this waistband method would also work as a waistband for a sports bra? I want to avoid the bunching you get with elastic if possible

  • Deborah
    September 1, 2020 at 3:40 am

    Hi Johanna
    Love the leggings! The pink floral ones, could you please give me the name of the fabric?
    Congratulations on the jeans book, can’t wait to buy it, I’m in Australia so hope I don’t have to wait too long.

  • […] result, stabilise the outside waistband pieces with power net underlining. Check out my tutorial How to sew a body shaping waistband using power net to see how it is done, note that in this instance I add the net to the outer waistband and not the […]

  • […] Making a body shaping waistband using power net […]

  • Susan Arkin
    May 19, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Awesome video! Please can you tell me the size of your elastic- is it 1/2″ or 1/4″

  • […] on top of the wrong side of the inner waistband. Pin in place. Check out my tutorial on how to sew a body-shaping waistband for more […]

  • Kim
    August 12, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you for this extremely helpful information. I plan to order your book as I am new to sewing activewear.

    I have a question for you. I just ordered power mesh from I noticed the stretch is only 30 to 50 % but my main fabric is about 70%. So should I draft the power mesh waistband larger than the main fabric?

  • […] fold and press in the ends. See my waistband tutorial for more detailed […]


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